White House: Press briefings will resume when 'we need to come to the podium'

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Tuesday that press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would return to the briefing room podium to take questions from the media "when she finds a reason to do that."

"It’s not that they’ve ever stopped, it’s just that sometimes we need to come to the podium to communicate things and sometimes we don’t," Gidley said on "America's Newsroom" on Fox News. 

"A lot of the times when we don't come to the podium it’s because the president has addressed the American people himself," he added.


Gidley suggested that the White House is unfairly criticized for failing to hold press briefings when President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE addresses the media or for not making the president available when it holds briefings.

"It’s kind of ridiculous, you can’t win for losing half the time," he said. "But the fact is, when the president isn’t going up we have a conversation about the message we deliver, and Sarah Sanders will absolutely be back at the podium talking to the press and delivering the message to the American people."

Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that he told Sanders "not to bother" holding briefings anymore because the press does not cover them "fairly."

"The reason Sarah Sanders does not go to the 'podium' much anymore is that the press covers her so rudely & inaccurately, in particular certain members of the press," Trump tweeted.

"I told her not to bother, the word gets out anyway! Most will never cover us fairly & hence, the term, Fake News!" he added.

The White House has yet to hold a press briefing in 2019. It has been 35 days since the last briefing on Dec. 18.

“This retreat from transparency and accountability sets a terrible precedent," White House Correspondents' Association President Olivier Knox said in a statement. "Being able to question the press secretary or other senior government officials publicly helps the news media tell Americans what their most powerful representatives are doing in their name. While other avenues exist to obtain information, the robust, public back-and-forth we’ve come to expect in the James A. Brady briefing room helps highlight that no one in a healthy republic is above being questioned.”

The briefings grew increasingly rare over the course of 2018. Sanders held two briefings in October, one in November and one in December. President Trump appeared in the briefing room earlier this month, but did not take questions from reporters.

Gidley argued Tuesday that Trump is the "most accessible president in history." 

"It doesn’t necessarily mean Sarah Sanders needs to be at this podium every day when the president himself is talking to the American people," he said.

The White House Correspondents' Association shared data earlier this month that showed as of Jan. 10,  Trump has been the second most accessible president to the press since former President Reagan based on interviews, press conferences and short question-and-answer sessions. Only former President Clinton took questions more often, the data showed.

While the administration rarely holds briefings or full press conferences with the president, Trump often engages with reporters as he leaves the White House for Marine One or during pool sprays, which consist of a small group of reporters attending White House events.

Trump has had a combative relationship with the news media since hitting the campaign trail in 2015. He often derides unfavorable coverage as "fake news," and has labeled some outlets and reporters the "enemy of the people."

CORRECTION: The White House Correspondents' Association data shows that Trump is the second most accessible president to the press since Ronald Reagan. An earlier version included incorrect information.

-Updated 3:14 p.m.